How do I segment the customers when no previous marketing research is available and there is no budget for it?

Few scrappy methods for market research:

1. Internal data: Analyze internal customer service data if available (type of customers who frequently call for support). Alternatively, perform a quick 1-2 week observation study of in-store traffic.

2. Web Traffic Insights: Analyze online visitors. Implement a web analytics platform now if it already does not exist. Google Analytics is easy to begin with and gives decent demographic data (geo/gender/age). You’ll get richer user data if you integrate ‘Log in with Facebook’ (via Janrain etc.).

3. Social Analytics: Does company have a FB/Twitter page? If yes, there are tools like Microstrategy Wisdom that can provide an overview of fan/follower segments.

4. Social Listening: Listen for your brand or product in general, & run demographics report on this volume. While this may not give an exact picture of the current customers but will include posts from potential/current/ex customers. Due to lack of budget you may want just a trial license of social listening platform such as Radian6/ NetBase. Note that, Twitter firehose access that comes at a cost.

5. Competitive study: Check out Google Trends, Google Keyword Tool or customer reports ( for similar competitors or the industry itself.

Finally, you can just show up in shopping mall and interview shoppers, or just an observation study.

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